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Humans of the U: Nick Baret

“I am a computer science major and last summer I did a virtual internship with NASA. There are many centers located across the country and the center I was affiliated with is called Glenn Research Center outside Cleveland, Ohio. 

For my internship, I supported the Space Communications and Navigation (SCaN) program and worked on the High-Rate Delay Tolerant Networking (HDTN) team. Essentially, the team is part of an agency-wide initiative to develop technology to enable the solar system internet. As we travel back to the Moon and hopefully to Mars, we will need a more advanced internet than what we have on Earth for astronauts and satellites to communicate. Because the environment in space is more hostile than it is on Earth, there are new features of a network that need to be built to be successful.

I began my internship with a three-day orientation/onboarding in Ohio where I toured the center, and the labs and met my team. Then I returned to Utah to work from home. Participating in the internship allowed me to use the things I am learning in my classes to conduct research with the team at NASA. Classes can be a grind and the internship was a nice change of pace.

Doing research as part of my internship was super hard because I was working on things that had not been done before with computer networking. I did get things to work, but a big part of research is figuring out what doesn’t work as well— a valuable lesson. I learned during my internship how to work through something failing for months and not give up. Coming back to class, this gives me hope when I face hard assignments.

I loved the team I got to work with for my internship. Everyone who was working on the team was incredible, and they were very humble and grounded. The project I got to work on was so amazing and interesting, and visiting the NASA center in person was wild. It felt like going to another country. 

I would like to encourage everyone to keep working hard to achieve their dreams and goals, and if anyone is interested in working at NASA, know that they are worthy and welcome! There is a stigma about working at NASA, but the reality is that you don’t need to be an Einstein to work there. You just need to study hard, love the mission it stands for, make a good resume, and apply! ”

Nick Baret, a senior in computer science